If you or your child is taking an Advanced Placement (AP) course in high school, then you know the stress of being a high achiever. Doing well in an AP class has many benefits, including impressing universities, earning a top grade, passing the AP exam, and getting university course credit.
AP courses are taught according to College Board standards and are designed to give students the opportunity to take university level courses in high school and receive full university credit for those courses if they pass their AP exam at the end of the school year. Passing an AP exam can save a student thousands of dollars of university tuition.
Recognizing the significance of passing AP exams, McGraw-Hill has developed a program to help you do your best in AP classes and on the exams. SCOREboard is a program designed by McGraw-Hill to help students study for AP classes and prepare for the AP exam to increase their chances of passing those exams and earning university credit.
I spoke with McGraw-Hill’s Director of Product Marketing, Amanda Stedke, about SCOREboard and how this program can help students with AP courses and exams. “The College Board is pushing for open access and equity for these courses, any student who wants to take an AP course in high school and work towards college credit can. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that all students are ready for the rigors of the AP course and the AP exam at the end of the year.”
According to McGraw-Hill, more than 950,000 U.S. public high school graduates took at least one AP exam in 2012 but the failure rate of the AP exams is approximately 50%. Stedke pointed out that the 50% failure rate of students taking the AP exams doesn’t take into account the nearly 20% of students who take AP courses but don’t take the AP exam at the end of the year. “The rigor of the AP course is great, they’re committing to it throughout the year. We want as many students as possible taking that exam and passing it.”
SCOREboard uses adaptive technology, similar to its LearnSmart program for college students, to personalize the learning approach for high school AP students. The program is designed to identify areas where students need to focus their studies and adapt the study aids accordingly. “The focus is on helping students to study smarter,” said Stedke.
For more information on McGraw-Hill’s LearnSmart program see, Tech Tools to Enhance Your Knowledge at College!
After students sign up for SCOREboard they’re given a study assessment to target their areas of strength and weakness. The assessment takes about 20 minutes to complete and is based upon AP guidelines, according to Stedke. In addition to answering subject questions on the assessment, students are asked how confident they are in their responses. The program adapts assessment questions based upon the student’s responses. SCOREboard then builds a personalized learning plan for each student based on the results of the assessment.
SCOREboard also helps students schedule their study time, with choices of how many days a week they wish to study. Based on the selection, the program will then recommend how many minutes the student needs to study each day, from 20 minutes up to 55 minutes per day.
The program has periodic assessments during the school year to make sure students stay on track. Students can also see visual cues each day to monitor their progress. “It shows buckets filling up that say, ‘You’ve reached 20% of your goal for this topic, 50% of your goal, etc.’ To show progress when they’re moving forward is really gratifying, keeping them motivated and on the right track,” said Stedke.
SCOREboard also produces individual reports that can be shared with teachers and parents so they can keep track of a student’s progress. The reports contain information about topic scores, which questions were missed consistently, and suggested areas where more study is needed.
SCOREboard covers these courses:
- AP Biology
- AP Chemistry
- AP Economics
- AP Environmental Science
- AP Psychology
- AP U.S. Government & Politics
- AP U.S. History
- AP World History
Four timed practice AP tests are included with each course. The scoring of the practice AP tests happens instantly in the program so students get immediate results and feedback about their preparedness for taking the AP exam. The results explain which area of AP curricula each question covers and why each answer was right or wrong, according to Stedke.
Each course costs $20. (SCOREboard may be the best bargain in tech if spending 20 bucks on this program helps you save thousands of dollars in university tuition.) You can download a sample of each course to try before you buy it.
SCOREboard is available online and from mobile devices using a mobile browser. Apps are scheduled to be released this fall. You can find out more at the SCOREboard website.
Do you like tech that helps you study smarter? If you were taking an AP class would you want a program to help you study and improve your chances of passing the exam? Would you like to to get university credit for a high school course? Let us know in the Comments section below!